Poetry: Selections from Steve Grogan
The Day When the Sun Spoke to the Earth
I'm so tired.
I can hardly wait.
This day is ending.
Shining metal caresses flesh.
Maybe the sun has cut itself
or finally choked on the stars.
If I had been that lonely orange jewel,
my life would have expired long ago.
Eons away, when Egyptians first carved
their hieroglyphics and habits out of stone,
they would have watched their sun
crying and screaming to be let down.
Heights scare me,
and so does the darkness.
The stars will not speak to me
because they envy my ability to give life!
Because I am the reason
so many creatures wander the Earth.
All these lives need me, or else
they will be extinguished.
Without them, neglect will surely follow.
Winds will make their castles crumble.
Civilizations will topple. The earth will
shiver and cover the remains with sand.
No, I don't feel lonely anymore
because you need me, and I need you.
Two crying faces could predict
what effect these actions will have.
Will my skin be demolished?
Will they praise me as a hero?
Metal constricts my dreams.
It exposes them to oceans far away.
Mars captures a magic flare
and fires it back at my satellite.
Someone juggled the dice once more.
I hear them clattering across the table.
They touched cracks in the linoleum
on my kitchen floor, and wept.
98! Sweaty fingers rolled a 98!
Success! Your adversary is conquered!
He bleeds, as you would have bled,
had you rolled a lower number.
A gong shivers in the cold.
However, we are in outer space.
I cannot hear a sound.
What a mystery!
How could a mortal reside here,
temporary or otherwise?
Drip drip drip, trickle trickle trickle.
Water taps the stone below my knees.
The dream has been broken.
I can't read its hieroglyphics.
Someone built a memorial here.
They use metal and bones.
Why did they decide to start
the reconstruction with weak objects?
Every magic orb on every mountain top
says they had no choice.
This memory speaks to the stars.
Is it made of stone?
Sundials and demons leave
their ancient spirits die.
Stars bounce these words back
and forth; no one seems to answer.
No one seems to debate
these theories or philosophies.
Nobody has the ambition to ask,
"Why did you say that?"
My stars reflect tranquility tonight.
What will show me the opposite?
My soul? No, this is not a mirror.
Perhaps I should wait a while.
Just sit here, surrounded
by stones and smiling.
I'm waiting for a reflection
to reach my tired eyes.
Ancient hands fill the sky.
Their delicate fingers reorganize the stars.
They create obscene constellations,
which taps my teenage funny bone.
My shadow grips the world, broken and torn.
This one isn't going to be coming back.
Every skylight has been painted blue.
No one escapes the forest.
Visions bend my eyes ninety degrees.
They will be scarred forever now.
I visited my sister on her wedding day.
Her dress started bleeding.
Its wounds spilled orange acid,
which devoured the kitchen floor.
Ovens eject a well-cooked fantasy.
Bowls contain a hidden secret.
Transmit this foreign language
on my wavelength when your god bellows.
Time to say goodbye! To leave the framework!
Fabric breaks the sunlight.
Earth trembles while a fire
ravages screaming human figures.
Once I knew a young woman
who smelled sweeter than any flower.
When I am bored, I think of her,
wishing my prison would open.
Friendly Other Life
More exciting than any fantasy
that I could dream,
more real than any skin
my fingers could caress.
What could unfasten this magic buckle?
Nothing can keep it straight.
No mind could calculate its perimeter.
No hands could hold it down.
Stand beside the wall and fade.
People shudder when you enter the room.
So sweet, your aroma on their noses.
Their limbs are urgent and nervous.
This young man's jaw has been frozen,
so I will tell you on his behalf:
he thinks you are beautiful.
Stop shuddering. The stars are fading.
The earthling only wants to tell you.
I must be leaving now.
Constellations spell out my name.
They scream and call me home.
Good bye, my friends, and good luck.
Your hieroglyphics are my dreams.
Your trees are my memories.
Your lust is my daily bread.
Steve Grogan is from the often-filmed city of Troy, NY. His short stories and poems have been published in several magazines and ezines. His biggest influences are Phillip K. Dick, William S. Burroughs, and Thomas Pynchon.